A resident offers support Tuesday night for
the Alameda City Council's resolution
to impeach President Trump.
Alameda’s sharp left turn on the political spectrum continued late Tuesday night with a resolution giving support to Rep. Barbara Lee for the urging of Congress to investigate and potentially impeach President Donald Trump.
The East Bay island city follows nearby Richmond in approving the resolution that is gaining strong support among Bay Area progressives.
But the resolution appeared headed to defeat before a dramatic comeback aided in part by a plea from Councilmember Jim Oddie to Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft to reconsider her stated intention to abstain, and thereby subduing the resolution.
Mayor Trish Spencer and Councilmember Frank Matarrese stated an intention to vote against the resolution, while its authors, Councilmembers Malia Vella and Oddie voiced earlier support. This put the spotlight on Ashcraft, who was the last to weigh-in on the matter.
While voicing opposition to Trump, his policies and actions, Ashcraft was nonetheless skeptical about the council resolution’s practicality. “It’s not going to have the impact needed,” she said, before adding the need for electing more Democrats nationwide to Congress would better serve the resolution’s intended aim of seeking articles of impeachment.
But before a motion was made to vote on the agenda item, Oddie attempted a second case for the resolution, this one more impassioned than his first. An extended, roughly 20-second round of consistent applause followed that appeared to affect Ashcraft, who sat blankly and still.
Deal-making ensued. Ashcraft asked to amend the resolution to train its focus on Lee and not Congress at-large in order to push for the investigation into Trump’s alleged wrongdoings. After a 10-minute break to hash out wording of the scaled down resolution, a likely failed resolution suddenly gained unanimous support of the city council.
Afterwards, Spencer said she changed her vote after the resolution was redirected towards Lee. During Spencer’s public comments, she voiced similar sentiment saying, “I submit we have a strong voice voting for us for, I believe, the last 18 years, and that is Representative Barbara Lee.” Spencer also worried over the possibility Alameda’s federal funding could be stripped down the road.
Councilmember Frank Matarrese also voiced contempt for Trump, but questioned whether initial resolution amounted to anything that would significant affect change. He, too, later switched his vote.
Alameda now joins Richmond as the only two cities in California to approve such a resolution. However, while Richmond may boast of the most progressive city council in the entire Bay Area, Alameda’s path toward calling for the investigation and possible impeachment of the president for his suspected ties to Russia and its interference in November's presidential election, among other charges, on the other hand, is somewhat out of character.
Yet in recent months, the council has moved to become a sanctuary city and voted to begin divestment from Wells Fargo for corporate malfeasance, two issues greatly favored by progressives around the East Bay.
“I think we all understand we can’t impeach the president,” said Oddie, though, later adding, “There’s a lot of smoke there and every time something happens someone gets caught in a lie. We have a right to know if our president is a crook.”
Many Alamedans appear to back Oddie and Vella’s stance toward the president. Fifteen of the 17 speakers Tuesday night supported the resolution, while two who opposed it raised a number of right wing tropes, in addition, to questioning whether the council should instead focus on city matters under their direct purview. “Some have said, ‘How is Alameda impacted?’" said Vella. "All of us are deeply impacted when there are allegations of tampering into our elections. We are directly impacted if our president had a hand in it.”